Gravity Corps is a new project from Denver, Colorado but the man behind it is no stranger to the industrial music scene. Mark Sousa is best known for Voicecoil, though currently, on November the 5th, he has launched an EP, Zero Grav, under the Gravity Corps name.
There is definitely a science fiction feel to Gravity Corps and this is evident from the first track “Scared ToDeath” from the whispers and echos to futuristic synths. The single off the EP, “Another Day“, is very danceable, because, and may I dare say it, there might be a little bit of disco hiding within. It is a bloody good track!
What would happen if you lived the high life for long enough? One would guess parts of your fragile human body would stop working which is the premise of the rolling track, “Decadence Is Dangerous” while “Cold And Elegant” seems the perfect song to follow up. The chorus is so catchy and I would have to say my favourite track. Oh, wait, “Selling Sorrow“with it’s future pop soul, that drags you along with it, is great as well. So, the moral of the story is, the longer you listen to this EP, the more it sucks you in and converts you. Well played Gravity Corps, well played. You got me hooked with you bag of rather good tunes. In space, no one can hear you scream but in Zero Grav you can have a jolly good time.
Some bands are pivotally important to certain scenes and for myself, Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry (TheLorries) is definitely one of those bands. Leeds was a hotbed of post-punk acts which included the likes of Sister Of Mercy, The March Violets and in 1981, The Lorries. Though they have never claimed the mantel of goth, they are well beloved by the scene and highly influential. Between ’81 and ’92, The Lorries released five studio albums with Chris Reed (lead singer) and David “Wolfie” Wolfenden (guitar) as the longest serving members, Reed being a founding member and lead songwriter with Wolfie as his co-writer.
In 1992, the band decided to call it a day and did one last tour which according to some, was the best TheLorries had ever played. Their show at Batschkapp in Frankfurt, was recorded from the mixing desk but remained unreleased with the band. In 2015, when a very limited amount of CDs were sold at two exclusive concerts, they contained four rare studio recorded tracks. Fans have tried to track these down and there have been incomplete bootlegs of the live show, so with the consent of all the band members, GENERATE has been created for all fans, released on November the 1st, 2021.
For those who know and love Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, this is going to be a walk down memory lane to a time when music was defining us as a sub genre and music was an escape from the worries of the world. Those that that may be unfamiliar, these guys helped define the genre that is post-punk, from the deep bass to the distinctive guitar jangles to the serious vocal tones.
There are all up twenty-three tracks on this album and I don’t think I want to pull them apart but rather invite you to enjoy such tracks as “Talk About The Weather” which is possibly their most famous track, strained with the insistent short guitar strokes while Reed sings about talking to someone who wants to small talk while he is soaked to the skin. Or “Monkeys On Juice” with those warm, undulating guitars, the gunfire drums and deep resounding vocals.
The quality of the recording is really brilliant and in all honesty, this album is so worth listening to. Yes, there is a little nostalgia but the music is still fresh and doesn’t feel like it has aged. So load up on some Lorries because this is something magical.
When the title of an album is You Are Happy, they aren’t asking but rather telling you. Non-Bio have this new album out called just that and it is a harsh industrial look at the modern age. Howard Gardner is the man behind Non-Bio, resident of London and this is the first album release since 2018.
This is your “Induction“. You will obey, you will fear, you won’t question and accept what is given to you. There is no resistance because it is not in your interest… or that is what you are told and that is solidified with “Death To The Beat“, an angry litany of how people have been led astray with false promises and fears. It is heavy and brutal in it’s criticism. “Create Problems” has that great experimental feel with the off beats, adding to the idea that not all is well in the world.
Fourth track is “Crush” and it is full of rhythmic noise, lambasting your senses under it’s weight to push you down. Not as insistent but sludgy and dark is “CollapseNoise” and I am not sure if it is me or are there electronic crows/raven in the background ready to pick over the bones? The instrumental title track, “You Are Happy” is a combination of static beats, hissing electronic modulated noise and verbal snippets taken from speeches, such as Gandhi and the alike on human happiness. I never knew the calorific count of the human body but I do now due to “Zombie Influencer“, so thank you Non-Bio if I ever should feel the need for some soylent green. Creepy and unsettling, Gardner quantifies how much you will satisfy the hungry zombie hordes.
“Nerve Market” has an industrialized, militarized timing and it is about the mechanization of humans and the loss of their ties to what makes them human. Pounding pounding into the ground as you become the dust, as you “Worship Dust” because you are a part of the industrial machine. The instrumental, “Are You StillListening?” creates the impression of unease by being slightly off as it chirps at you, which leads you into “Positron Pill” and it is abrasively trying to pry your head open and wants you to burn everything. “ReallyExisting People” could be called the crunch dance track and herein lays the juxtaposition between the gritty sounds and the clinical words.
Such an odd title for a song, “Oppressor, She Loves You” and the lyrics could be from a science fiction and yet this is based in the current world. The drone and constant rhythm lull you into obedience, so you give your all before your disintegration. The theme continues in “Docile Thunder” that does indeed thunder on, wending its way into your ears. Last track, “Taint Of Tomorrow” is driving rhythmic noise that nails home the intent of the album… the expectation that you accept and don’t question.
if you haven’t guessed by now, this is an album with an agenda, inspired by the current policies and political landscape of the United Kingdom and watching others further afield. A commentary on society, where those who have little, also have the most to lose. It may also be a reflection that the population had been cowed into general acceptance unlike the civil unrest of the 70s and 80s which spawned industrial experimental artists like Test Dept, CabaretVoltaire and ClockDVA. Non-Bio is following in their footsteps, under their own flag of angst ridden, fervour because in times of social injustice and inequality, industrial music seems to come to the forefront. You AreHappy is a great album with a lot of heart and soul and just maybe, Non-Bio will be part of the revolution!
SINE is Rona Rougeheart, who is a singer, drummer and Texan. Rougeheart has been unleashing music under this pseudonym since 2016 and on the 29th of October, a new remix of the latest single, “Realitease” was released called “VirtualRealitease“. The bonus is that it has been remixed by Andee Blacksugar who is Black Sugar Transmissions and also the guitarist/composer for industrial group KMFDM.
From the breathy, electronic incantations of virtual to the funky guitar that takes flight into a magnificent solo, this is a pretty classy piece. Actually it reminds me a lot of Prince’s tracks from around the late 80s that were always heavily funk beat based and always tied up with that virtuoso guitar playing.
The original single and this remix can be found on the album Desire, Denial and Paramania that was released at the beginning of October this year. This is an odd mix of mellow versus electronic/electric sparks and it damn well works. Have a listen and then check out more SINE.
Unitcode:machine is the very talented Eric Kristoffer from Dallas, Texas and earlier this year he released the album, Themes For A Collapsing Empire, on which you could find the single “Falling Down“. In November, an EP of remixes has been released of this single, re imagined by other acts.
The first remix goes to Stabbing Westward and it so clean, polished and so utterly likeable. It almost is like listening to Depeche Mode in the way it grabs you. Next is the wonderful Batávia’s groovier version. Oddly sounds like Tom Shear from Assemblage 21, which is not a bad thing but how did they manage that and it really is a thoughtful remix that gets under your skin. Who doesn’t like a bit of electronic funk that descends into into brilliant synth lines?! Steven Olaf brings hints of the 80’s and it bops along very nicely…. I totally adore that synth line and trust me you will know what I mean when you hear it. The Gravitation remix by Antonym starts slow but this is a ruse and soon beats happen and it all becomes a whole lot of epic. There is something so spine tingling and satisfyingly about the Glass Apple Bonzai remix in all it’s synth wave, juicy goodness. It is rhythmic zen and beautiful, dutifully followed up with the solid club edit. The final re working featuring fellow Texan, Dwayne Dassing, ex-Mentallo and the Fixer, and the flavour is near futuristic in this purely instrumental version.
No matter how you look, or is that listen to “Falling Down“, it is a stonking number that can be remixed to reflect the style of each contributor and of course each remix is unique, basically there isn’t a bad track on this release. Not bad for a revisited single and I rather think this would be fabulous to hear on the dance floor..
With the imminent release of their latest album, Horses In The Abbatoir onFreakwave Records, Shawn Tucker and Sean-Patrick Nolan from gothic/post-punk band TRAITRS, spoke to us about the album, friendship and the dark art of music.
Welcome to the rabbit hole! Having listened to the new album, Horses In The Abbatoir, I can say it stirs memories of another era, especially the around the time of the releases of The Cure’s Pornography or the Cocteau Twins Sunburst and Snowblind which is no mean feat as they are iconic albums. Do you think the events of 2020/21 have impacted on your sound for this album and if so how?
Nolan: I wouldn’t necessarily say the pandemic and events of the last 18 months impacted the sound of this album. Only in the sense that it motivated us to write the darkest album we possibly could to reflect these strange and horrible times. A lot of the songs on this record are about isolation, depression, paranoia, death, the passing of time and the meaninglessness of existence. If that doesn’t remind you of the events of 2020/21, I don’t know what will. Thematically, this is a very personal record for us both, but there is definitely overlap between that and where the world is at right now. We’re not a happy-go-lucky band, so we revel in the misery and neuroses of the modern age. It’s great apocalyptic fodder for current darkwave bands in the same way that the punk and hardcore bands in the 80’s were reacting to the Reagan era and Thatcherism. The album’s not about the pandemic or Trump or anything specific to 2020/21, but this record absolutely is the product of two people observing and struggling to survive in this depressing, anxiety-ridden age.
How do you feel your sound has changed since your first album, Rite And Ritual in 2017?
Tucker: I’d say the core elements of our sound on Rites And Ritual are all still there, but our songwriting and production has vastly improved. The post-punk and goth framework remains in tact, but we’re adding new elements and twists to our sound to further establish our own identity. The electronic and more cinematic parts of our sound have always been there, we’re just better at using them more effectively and prominently in our songs now. This is our most cohesive record front to back. We tried to have each song stand on its own individually as well as play a crucial role in the lyrical and musical narrative of the whole album. That was a big goal we set for ourselves: to write an album that’s as immersive as something Dead Can Dance, The Cure or Cocteau Twins would put out.
Nolan: I totally agree. James Lindsay from our old label Pleasence Records always used to say Rites And Ritual was our punk record and I think he’s totally right. It’s very raw and imperfect in some ways which is what I think people like about it. I’m proud of the album but we’ve changed so much as people and artists since then, it would be impossible to do it again. And we have no interest in doing it again. Formulas and repeating ideas contradict the reason why we started playing music in the first place. In that sense, Horses In The Abattoir is the next evolutionary step in our sound. Like Shawn says, we’re building off of and refining the ideas we started with on day one. We’re not going to start making trap or gabba goth all of a sudden, but our sound is definitely changing and evolving the more we write and record. The music and aesthetic will always be dark and macabre, but there’s so much room to experiment and play around with these sounds and ideas. Personally speaking, that’s the stuff that really engages me creatively.
You both have been friends for a long time before you started TRAITRS in 2015, so are there advantages and disadvantages to this sort of relationship in a band?
Tucker: Honestly, it’s pretty much all positive. There’s a trust and honesty and openness we share after being friends for this long. It makes it easy to create and share ideas with one another. Stressful things like telling someone something they’re playing could be better, or living together while on tour are that much easier since we know each other so well and get along as well as we do. Rarely do we ever argue, and even if we do disagree, we know it’s coming from a genuine place. There’s no ego involved or power tripping. We’re very similar in some ways and drastically different in others, but together we both balance each other out personally and creatively. TRAITRS wouldn’t be possible if you removed either one of us.
Nolan: Yeah the biggest thing is there are never any hurt feelings. The honesty and open communication really makes all decision making so much easier. At this point we’re more like brothers than band members even.
You describe your style as art post-punk. Many of the original post-punk/goth bands also met in art school, such as Bauhaus, and it was an outlet to express themselves both musically but also visually. Is this how it is for you and how do you feel your art influences your music or vice versa?
Nolan: Absolutely! I love when bands can bring in influences from different artistic backgrounds. The musical and art-based influences are intrinsically linked for us and they have been since the very beginning. We discuss the art direction in just as much detail as we do the music, sound and lyrics. The visual component of what we do has always been a huge focal point for us. From album artwork to merch to our live visuals, we see it as a supplemental outlet for us to further expand on the ideas and concepts we write about. Even more so now since we started writing and directing our own music videos, starting with “Magdalene” earlier this year. Shawn is a very gifted visual artist and designer, so it’s been a pleasure to see him apply his eye to directing our videos. It’s a natural extension of what we started years ago and I think the connection to visual art and film will become more prominent the further along we go.
The videos you have created for your singles have been visually stunning with a macabre darkness sewn through them. How much input did you have making these?
Tucker: 100% our input. We do all of it ourselves and our small crew. When the label got down to talks with us as far as videos and singles, we were a bit concerned because they wanted 4 music videos. I had my eye on some very specific people for the projects but when it fell through, Nolan came up with the idea that maybe I put my film background to use and we start doing it all ourselves. Lots of trial and error, but we just started figuring out what it would take to pull that off. The best part of controlling the video concepts and vision is I can get what I feel is the closest representation of exactly who we are as a band and what I want the world of TRAITRS to be. Basically I wanted to direct art house horror films and that’s what I did with the videos. I’m a huge fan of horror/art house films especially the New French Extremity films. From shooting into the descents of hell called nothing, to a real ghost town house hidden away from the world, to escaping the occult offerings in the woods and a hungry possession taking over the mind in the cold dark city streets. Each video allowed all of you to take a deeper look inside our world.
We all have bands/individuals that influence us in our future tastes in music when we were younger. Who were those influences and who do you now find yourself listening to?
Tucker: I still listen to many of the same artist as I did when I was younger: The Smiths, A-ha, The Cure, The Smashing Pumpkins, The/Southern/Death/ Cult, Opposition, Big Country, The Chameleons, Pixies, Samhain, The Police, Fugazi, Jawbox, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, No Trend, Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Naked Eyes. Currently Newer listens: JJ72, Interpol, Placebo, The Joy Formidable, Autechre, White Lies, Editors, Eagulls, The Twilight Sad, Blonde Redhead, Quicksand
Nolan: A lot of fantastic records have come out this year! Old Country New Road, Lingua Ignota, Emma Ruth Rundle, The Armed, Spirit Of The Beehive, Grouper, Parquet Courts to name a few. Our fellow Freakwavers Creux Lies put out a great record last month. Local Toronto stuff like Nailbiter, Breeze and Odonis Odonis has really been blowing me away recently. This city is rich with very talented artists. I loved metal, punk and industrial music as a teenager. I was born in the late 80s, so it was the heavier bands I grew up loving like Deftones, Nine Inch Nails and System Of A Down who actually introduced me to the post-punk and new wave bands that inspire me to this day. Bands like New Order, The Smiths, The Cure, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, Can, Bauhaus, Jesus And The Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen, plus great electronic bands like Underworld, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and Portishead. The heavier bands would always mention new wave, goth, shoegaze and electronic artists as influences and I’d go check them out. Kind of like a beta version of the Spotify algorithm.
Thank you so much for your time and this new album is a wonderful addition to the TRAITRS discography so congratulations. What is planned for the future of TRAITRS?
Nolan: Thanks very much for the kind words for the taking the time to talk to us. Horses In The Abattoir comes out on November 19 on all streaming platforms and cd. Unfortunately due to vinyl manufacturing delays, the LP’s won’t be out until December. Aside from that, with all of the Covid restrictions slowly easing up, we’re finally booking tour dates for 2022 all across the world. So keep an eye out on our social media platforms to stay on top of where we’ll be next year. We have many new cities and countries we want to visit. Words can’t express how much we have missed our fans and live shows during this whole time. These first tours back will be emotional love-fests to say the very least. Come out and say hello to the Shauns.
Anyone who is familiar with AlexanderDonat’s project, Vlimmer, might be be surprised to find that after eighteen EPs releases (yes you read right, 18!!!) , he has unleashed his debut album, Nebenkörper. The literal translation of Nebenkörper is secondary body or auxiliary body and maybe a part of this title refers to the fact that this is a full length album which was released on the 24th of September, 2021.
The dreamy, instrumental, “Farbenmüde” is the prequel to the album and in no way prepares you for the onslaught that is the angst filled “Fensteraus” and it is a bit like a Faustian epic in sensory overload. It has a wicked life of its own. Blasts of electronic beats mixed with tribal rhythms is “Mutem“. A sublime mix of metal shoegaze with industrial. There is a constant drone behind the “Restfall” as Donat’s vocals tether you to this reality and the guitars jangle and wail while it climaxes in a maelstrom. We have the single “Meter” which actually reminds me of Oomph! a little, if they had been more post-punk and it definitely deserved to be a single. “Minusgesicht” is full of foreboding atmosphere, a pall of darkness that is trying to drag everything into it and a sense of falling or fading away.
“I.P.A.” is truly a post-punk hybrid beast. Dark and brooding with just the right amount of noise to mix with the discordant voices while “Ad Astra” is like a wild ride of ecstasy and screaming insanity that bears you along, occasionally drops you, just you pick you up for the next part of the ride. The insistent “Wangendruck” is absolutely a gothic/EBM hybrid of beauty. It gloriously powers on with bursts of beats. There is a subtle change with “Kartenwarten“, slowing down things, a mellow shoegaze vibe before we vere off into noise inspired “Kron“. It is crunchy and sounds rather unhinged, though in a good way, as it ramps up. The last song on the album is “Nebenbei“. It is the wind down, giving a sense of introspectiveness and grief in a way, possibly full of longing. It is a lovely way to end.
Vlimmer is on Blackjack Illuminist Records and had the much-in-demand, Pete Burns of Kill Shelter handling the mastering. As a native English speaker, I am unable to tell you what the German lyrics are about and it is far more about the impression it gives and in the end, this is exactly what music is supposed to do. Expression in any language that still resonates with those who listen. Nebenkörper for the most part is a swirling amalgamation of gothic darkwave with shoegaze and a big helping of industrial. It is raw and at times won’t let you stop hearing new and unique things in the musical aether. At times you can almost swear you can hear a choir in the mix backing up Donat but this is an illusion and a rather masterful one. After eighteen EPs, Vlimmer have unleashed a beast of an album, so it was worth the wait.
If you love industrial music, then you should be checking out Isabella Chains’ project, Null Cell. The Omaha act is soon to release a full length album, Nemesis in December, but before then, you can sample the delight that is Null Cell with the first single off the album, “Over The Top“, which was released October 29th, out on Machine Man Records.
Metal mixed industrial might be the best description, in a similar vein to many of the beloved Wax Trax bands. Pumping beat with harsh, angry guitar work and belligerent vocals. It is kind of the industrial version of don’t try to change me or tell me I’m wrong because this is my life by people who think they are always right.
The two remixes on this album are from HOSTILE ARCHITECT (H/A) and Varicella. You can pick H/A’s mix, by Mitch Kenny, a mile away with the signature synths and breaks. He has created a more futuristic version where the guitars are no longer at the core but still kept it deliciously dark. The Varicella version keeps to the guitar based sounds, injecting their electronic fingerprints and dare I say giving the track an even dirtier feel with the extra vocal manipulation.
The last track is a cover of “Wireframed Genocide“, originally written and recorded by Mind Teardown. The original has cleaner synths and a definitely more European flavour about it even though they are from Seattle, whilst the Null Cell cover is near pure angst, seething in it’s disdain.
“Over The Top” is name your price on Bandcamp. There is nothing to lose from checking out Null Cell and you just might gain a new act to really enjoy and follow.
The debut single, “Illuminate“, for the project named Revolution Above Disorder was released on the 22nd of October, 2021. The man behind all of this is Irish born Stephen Nicholas White, who now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Produced and mastered at Jacknife Studios by Jason Corbett and if that name rings a bell, that could be because Corbett is a member of the group ACTORS.
From the very beginning “Illuminate” has a dream like quality that lures you into a floating stream of synths that seem expansive and all the while White’s vocals are crystal clear, melding, becoming one with the universe it feels. Not sure if illumination refers to the finding of Nirvana but it does have a zen like quality. The remix by Delta Omega, who are based in Ireland, have added a future pop element with the sublime electronics. As can be imagined, the acoustic version is very stripped down, the raw bones that still retain the transcendental quality.
The production is smooth and music has all the electronic shoegaze silky goodness and whether this is a song about enlightenment or a love song, is up to the this listener. For those that have a fervour for ACTORS, you should really enjoy this track because there is the extra bonus that Shannon Hemmett, Kendall Wooding and Adam Fink, all appear and they also brought in Josiah Webb of Magic Shoppe fame. A simple and beautiful song for a world that spins too fast at times.